December 1, 2021

A Spark of Creativity

This was originally written in November 2021 for the Hemispheric Newsletter as part of One Prime Plus for the Hemispheric Views podcast.

I have been in a photographic slump over the last couple years. I imagine this is the case for many people given what the last few years have included.. There have been a few shimmers of creativity that have come and gone in that time, but it’s been mostly dark. I recently felt a resurgence and it caught me by surprise so I thought I would attempt to explain it in the hopes that it might be helpful for others. Creativity often strikes when you least expect it and that was the case this time.

I have loved photography for quite a long time, and when the cameras in our pocket computers started really getting good, things changed forever in terms of what it meant to be a photographer and even what the word photography’ meant in general. The greatest benefit of a pocket computer camera is not the photo quality, the lens selection, or even the dynamic range. Those are all getting better by the day, but the real power is just how fast you can go from zero to captured.

Pocket computer camera capture steps.

  1. Grab Device
  2. Swipe the screen to the left.
  3. Capture.

That’s it. I know, right!? Now contrast that with using my standalone camera.

  1. Make sure you actually have it with you. And if you actually do, get it out of your backpack.
  2. Flick power switch and wait for it to start up.
  3. Make sure all the settings are correct so you can actually capture something useful.

Same number of steps. but, A LOT more time.

I sound like I am saying my pocket computer is better than my standalone camera in every way, so why have the standalone camera? I can see how it sounds like that but that’s not the conclusion I am attempting to steer you toward. I really just want to say that for some, myself included, the barrier to getting going again comes down to the input effort required. The above steps using my pocket computer means I am getting back into the swing of things quickly without even thinking about it. And just like that, this initial push has got me thinking about and starting a new photography project using my standalone camera because it’s better suited for that project than my phone is.

I touched on the capturing portion of the process above, but what about the post capture process, how did that play into the reigniting of my creativity? Well, it would be hard to find anyone that feels it’s easier to edit, export, and share photos from a standalone camera vs your pocket computer. (Although I am sure someone out there thinks this?) Anyway, for me, the power of trying different edits, duplicating the image to try different crops, and having this all instantly available for saving and backing up is wonderful for a creative endeavor. Sometimes waiting is best for a creative idea to build, but other times you have an idea right there in the moment and this pocket computer camera makes this all possible. Right now.

So, in my journey back from the brink of darkness thanks to my pocket computer, there were a couple great apps that most have probably heard of but I wanted to mention just in case.

Getting going again is hard. Trust me, I know.

Take this 590 words and see if you can use it to help you build something creative for yourself.

Photo of a fountain pen nib

Photo of a concrete pathway through tall trees


Photography iPhone Halide Darkroom TouchRetouch RAW


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